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that's what drives me crazy. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> michael brick recounts in academic year at john h. reagan high school in texas and profiles the school's principal, anabel garza, and many teachers, students and staff. the author recounts the school's new closure in 2008 and its subsequent turnaround. this is about 45 minutes. .. >> i just can't thank you all
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enough, those of you, you know who i'm talking to for letting me into your lives and havi the courage to share this story with the world. you wouldn't know it to look over here, but public education is our most pressing political, social and moral problem. everybody knows it, and positions are entrenched, and there's a lot of hot rhetoric on all sides. somehow we've gotten to a point where frustration has built to such a fever pitch, that we've turned on teachers as the villains and started shutting down schools all over the country. as a writer after a good story to tell, i went looking in the pressure cooker of a public high school working against the clock to raise test scores. i wanted to take a look at what we're throwing away in this big national purge. instead, i found a dynamic principle leading a -- principal, leading a group of passionate, dedicated teachers at a school with a proud
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tradition to rally the community around. i found a scramble to help a surprisingly savvy group of kids who have been largely abandoned by the system. um, as most of you probably know, the book traces the pivotal 2009-2010 school year at reagan high, and we've been -- weaved in a lot of its history. not all, but a lot. at that point, just to kind of set the stage, the school was rated academically unacceptable by the state education agency four years running. this has a number of very practical real-world effects, perhaps most important is that letters are sent home to parents saying, hey, you know, you don't have to send your kids here, you can send them right across the highway. um, that leaves a cast of students who in some cases don't have the resources to get out,
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that have kind of been abandoned by the system, and in some cases have too much loyalty to get out was their big -- because their big brothers and sisters went to reagan high, their parents, aunts and uncles went to reagan high. at the moment where i came in and started doing research for the book and planning to follow this do or die school year with a kind of ticking clock where it was clear that, um, scores had to come up, or the school was going to get shut down. i chose to follow, to profile three principle people that you meet in the book who had all been brought to this largely-abandoned place for very different reasons. the principal, anna belle garza who was starting her second year at the job had come to devote herself to education and helping kids through overcoming some personal tragedies early in her
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life; candace kaiser, chemistry teacher that you get to know in the book, was drawn to a commitment to the school through her evolving christian faith; and derek david, a history teacher who's probably better known in my neighborhood as the basketball coach at reagan high, was there because it was his school. he had been a star on the basketball team back when i was in high school in the late '80s, early '90s, and when he came time to teach, this was just the natural place. um, so at that point, at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, test scores are abysmal, that rating is in place. graduation rates are what you'd imagine them being at at that point.
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but anna belle identified what she called a heartbeat in the school, and that has something to do with history. um, as many of you know, reagan high school has a proud tradition rooted in consecutive state football be championships in the '60s, that's aaaaa. nation's schools, magazines swooped in and pronounced reagan high the school of the year when it opened in 1965, raved about the architecture. i know. [laughter] this was a place that people cared about, you know, no matter how buried it had gotten, there was what anna belle and others identified as a heartbeat there. and they set about trying to not just raise scores in this one year -- and that's a herculean task in itself -- so during, that kind of forms the narrative
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of the book. we follow anna belle and these teachers trying to scramble to raise test scores in one year while at the same time recognizing like so many other high schools and middle schools under these kind of troubles all over the country, just making the test score numbers isn't going to bring things back to the point where the madrigal singers are touring europe, and the statesman's printing their account of the continent and -- anyhow. so they set about trying to set the groundwork for something closer to the public school that many of us who are a little bit older cherish the memory of going to. i mean, some of us talk about our high schools, i went to a public high school just north of dallas in farm beer's branch. farmer's branch. in reverential term, we use the phrase alma mater, my other mother. it's a big thing to say about a place you went to school, and
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it's probably not something we're giving our kids a chance to say. anyhow, everybody knows the ending of the story. they make the numberses, and that's not, of course, the ending really. that's the end of the book, but not the end of the story. the end of the book, i think this dramatic human story of this astonishing success points to some more profound issues that we need to face for our other than kids. and this -- our own kids. this book tells the story of the best our most passionate teachers can accomplish under the system we've set out. it's an inspiring story, but i also hope it makes you really angry. so i'm going to read two short passages. one a little less shorter than the other. um, and then we're going to get anna belle and candace and derek up here to take questions with me if you all have questions for
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any of us, and then we'll sign your books. so we're starting on the, um, this is the very short passage. we're starting on the first day of school in 2009, and anna belle garza has just finished making the morning announcements. anna belle put the microphone down. her office looked like a sublet. other pictures of her own children, she had managed to hang little more than an outdated portrait of the city skyline taken before all the new condo towers went up, a whiteboard in used to be planning 900 student schedules and a sign that said "sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wigs on the way down -- your wings on the way down." there hadn't been much time to decorate. the lobby's trophy case looks like a time capsule.
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a sign written with a felt marker proclaimed "raiders raid knowledge." a week ago with the superintendent's visit looming, anna belle had finally taken one of the guidance counselors aside and asked, what do we need to make this presentable? money. so anna belle went killing in her purse to pay for a trip to ikea and then walked across the courtyard picking up trash muttering, the other principals are not doing this right now. they also didn't have their younger sisters in to take care of their 10-year-old daughter, but anna belle did. most nights she was negotiating with missionaries to open a social services center on campus trying to fill a job called school improvement facilitator and making mental lists of who was missing books, desks and who was just missing. [laughter] so what's the drama, anna belle said, opening a last minute staff meeting. can i give you the short
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version, an assistant principal asked, scanning a detailed e-mail. ms. kaiser gave her beat-up cafeteria table to ms. bauer. somebody suggested confiscating all the furniture from the science wing. that'd show 'em. anna belle laughed her head-back laugh. learning happens in many different ways, i'm just saying. but even something this silly could get out of hand, and she knew it. the science teachers, especially, that was where scores most needed to come up. anna belle looked to the ceiling. after 15 years as an administrator, she knew ms. kaiser's kind. ms. kaiser was young, ms. kaiser had time and energy to spare and apparently tables too. [laughter] anna belle had been like ms. kaiser once, in another life, it seemed. can you tell carmen to lasso those teachers up? i told them, do not move furniture. then she hurried the talk along.
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ordinary drama made for a pleasant distraction, and after that there was still the matter of the squirrel eating through i.t. cables to address. after the meeting anna belle made her rounds. she came across a teacher agonizing over whether to shut down his fish tank. no be, anna belle told him, there's a living thing in there -- [laughter] so this next passage involves something that shouldn't ever have to happen. it's a few months later, and anna belle has rounded up some of her best students to go to the middle school. it's looking like scores are coming up, and they need to show the middle school kids that maybe they have a reason to come to reagan. this passage, also, is going to
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include, um, somebody i should identify more fully, georgia square whereas daniels was the, just an incredible kid, a star athlete at the school at the time who's now at iowa state on the football scholarship. anna belle hurried out to the bus where the marching band had a solid rhythm going on the seatbacks. she stood up front and counted heads. her star athlete turned up in sandals. where are your tennis shoes, anna belle asked? i don't have any, he said joking. all right, you're going to wear mine. what size do you wear? 14. [laughter] anna belle passed around fliers describing reagan's electives meant for distribution to the middle school kids. we've got every sport but swim team, said jeff square yus, who was on four of those team, counting golf. we need a swim team. anna belle said, you want to be
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on it? the bus pulled out of the lot. the kids bounced in their seats, away from class for an hour. they rode off toward middle schools they'd once attended on errands to convince at least a few that reagan high might have more to offer than tax cramming and the avoidance of getting stabbed. anna belle tucked a leg and surveyed her troop. the band kids had been an easy choice, the drum line in particular. they drew a crowd wherever they went from the mueller parking lot to formal competition. they'd been called up to play on the friday night lights tv show. still, jaqua rick us was the main attraction. on the football field, she stood out just by showing up. some college programs were looking at him, baylor and a couple of bigger ones too. as he told it, that had been his plan all along, the shine
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against the backdrop of a fallen dynasty. but the lesson of the losing season was hard to miss, he couldn't do it alone. his delivery may seem long, but he is also having to throw off his back foot a lot, one college scout wrote. when he has been able to stand up and deliver the ball, he looks like a different player. and for all his devotion to football, jaquarius was driving more attention on the basketball court. the raiders had made the preseason list of ten teams to watch and, quote, could surprise some people. burned by the memory of last year's regional quarter final loss to lbj -- lbgay some kids called it -- [laughter] outlet, shovel, bounce pass, layup with coach davis calling, stay low, stay low. the raiders had opened their soon in kill lean where people
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were still leaning from the -- reeling from the student at the army post. a recognized rating from the state, reagan had won through three points, 57-54. when the bus driver parked behind the cafeteria, the drummers and dancers gathered their things. the band director went in to make arrangements, jaquarius took the chance to give the principal a hard time. this is illegal, we're cuting. anna belle said, we're showing off. then she changed the subject to standardize prep testing, and he stopped smiling. [laughter] he had a solid gba. his girlfriend, ashley, had passed the tests her junior year. she was applying to baylor and some places even further away. no tack, no college and no college football. when i get to the test, he said, it doesn't translate. i act like i haven't been studying. anna belle looked for some encouraging words, but a buzzer
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was sounding from the cafeteria. the eighth graders were starting lunch. if she wanted to attract an incoming freshman class it was time to put on a show. all right, chicas, she called, giving the dancers a roundhouse wave. are you ready? the girls passed a sign and into the calf cafeteria with their principal calling, where is my strutters at? the because drummer smashed an echoing salvo, and somebody called, hit it, reagan. john phillips sousa this was not, and the haisong neither. the drum line teased a march beat that might have resembled standard hip-hop if not for jesse martinez clashing those krill balls together with every muscle in his face straining and the whole band doing exaggerated
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tuck steps. the drumline hushed to stick clicks for the call and response. everybody say rhs. the drummers called their parts in voices as deep and sewn rouse as their teenage chords could drop. the middle school business perched on their tier ya -- cafeteria stools rapt and a little overwhelmed. we are hearing fascinating things about you at webb, she told the eighth graders. we hear how smart you are, we are hear from reagan today to identify our future raiders. she asked for a show of hands, and those of you who respect coming to reagan, she went on, we hope we can change your minds today. i'm good, one kid called, and some others laughed. they were only 13, but they'd seen some things. they'd seen their middle school -- named for the state's
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foremost keeper of history -- go through the race to meet the numbers, their big brothers and sisters staving off a middle school closure order, and now this lady wanted them to come to an academically-unacceptable high school for more of the same. anna belle introduced the band, the strutters, the yearbook photographer and the quarterback. as you can tell, anna belle said watching the girls watch jaquarius, we have the best looking kids in austin. [laughter] grinding hips and building a great crescendo to a heart stop and silence frozen in a high step pose. oh, snap, called the middle schoolgirl. and the band lurched back to life. jesse clutched his splintered cymbals through ban can nas for good grip. the band played on. the reagan kids worked the room, circulating fliers that told of
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auto shop and drama club and sports. the middle schoolgirls competed for the attention of the football player before returning to his place by the stage. when the music stopped, he held the door for the drumline, the strutters and everybody. last came the principal. the middle schoolgirls didn't stop staring until he let the door close behind his back. i don't know what they see, anna belle said, shaking her head at jwdjaquarius in a boy with no shoes. [laughter] [applause] >> thanks a lot. i'd like to bring anna belle and candace and derek up here now to take your questions with me. >> i do have a question. i'm an alum of reagan, the class of '77, and how can the community at large, and i'd like to address it to michael and then to anna belle, how can the
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community at large support efforts of public schools, not just reagan, but all public schools? >> um, send your kids there. [laughter] [applause] i know that's more complicated than it sounds, but you know better than i do. >> absolutely, send your children there. well-rounded people, and i know you all are out there, and many of you went to public schools. and so you don't get such a sheltered experience, and so you're ready for more. it's like an immune system, huh? [laughter] and so you need to come out there. and as a community we receive great help from our alumni, reagan has a powerful history, and all of the alumni showed up and helped us at that year that
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the book was written, we had over 600 volunteers in the school. now, volunteers can also sink a school if they don't know which way we're headed, so we would make sure they were headed in the same direction we were. but public schools do need your help. it's not -- [inaudible] expose them to what is out there, and so -- not that, you know, private schools are great, but if you want your child to be ready for the world, public school is the place, and our school is a great place to be. we have probably the most talented faculty and staff dedicated to kids working day and night all the time. i'm just the, you know, coordinator, like the wedding planner, i just make sure that the experts are connected with the kids that need them the most, and we have wonderful, intelligent, smart kids. and the kids at the school need the support of the community, so
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thank you. [applause] >> um, a couple times i've heard mr. brick mention that you thought the school had a pulse. what did that mean to you at the time, what did you see in that school that you knew it wasn't going to be a problem to bring it back? >> i felt a heartbeat, and that means that there was a lot of love in the community for the school. the school has a great legacy, and a lot of great people that have come from that school. and so i think that i felt the pulse from the kids. the kids wanted their school open, the teachers wanted to be there at that school. i have never felt so much love for the school, you know? she was something else that year. candace and teachers like her,
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she comes rushing in my office, i'm taking the kids to africa. poor girl. [laughter] you know that costs money? yes, i know it costs money, we're going to raise money. and so people like candace, teachers like candace, all of our teachers. they were eager to help the kids in whatever way they could possibly get. and i learned many lessons along the way about, you know, africa girl here who -- i said, okay, go ahead, go ahead and get your -- and they made be it. and it was wonderful. and the kids came back different, they came back, you know, from a community who, um, is such -- we have a high rate of poverty, kids that don't have anything giving to kids who really don't have anything. and so she took them to probably one of the world's largest slums, and the kids learned that
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i have so much. i have so much. and these kids really don't have anything. so thanks to my youngbloods out there. they taught me a thing or two about what could be done. [applause] >> i work at o henry, and so i'm very inspired by your story, but i'm immediately thinking, too, it's like we need to get every single politician to read this book and to see what they were setting you up for and how we can change this really punishing system of the high stakes testing and what it does to our schools. [applause] so i hope that, anyway, that it guesses out to the poll -- gets tout the politicians. -- out to the politicians. [applause] >> i had a text from a friend the other day, a display at
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kramer books where monica lewinsky bought her book of poetry. [laughter] forgive me, i'm trying to turn what i want to say into a question, so maybe i'll just end with that. i teach at an elementary school that feeds into reagan, um, and we live in a blue oasis in an extremely red state, and it's an election year. if you really take a look at the candidates and just at any level and look at those who are purely anti-intellectual, philistine, especially when it comes to science which is a real area of concern, um, there is a way that we can support our schools, and i'm going to end with the question of, who are you going to vote for? [laughter] [applause] >> he said it wasn't a question, we don't have to answer it. >> i'm actually a student from
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ohio. i'm intern here in austin, this is my first time being here, but i had two questions, one for mr. brick and the other for mr. gars saw. mr. brick, was there a particular event that sparked your decision to write this book, and the second for ms. garza, what advice do you have for an aspiring public high school administrator? >> my wife went to reagan, class of '93, so i was familiar with the school. i wouldn't call it one event so much as just watching the progression of this ticking clock. um, you know, to be perfectly honest, these are educators, i'm a storyteller, and i don't want put myself out as an -- i don't put myself out as an expert on education, i saw a really incredible story there. and i jumped in. the important question, anabel.
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[laughter] >> so it's not glamorous, right? [laughter] and so all of my administrators are here tonight, and they can tell you. i mean, i don't know, once upon a time they thought, all right, we're going to get out of the classroom. [laughter] that means we're going to walk around and do this. [laughter] you know? yeah, we usually look very raggedy at the end of the day because kids have needs. you know that if you've ever stayed home with your kids, and you have more than one. [laughter] even one you know what you look like at the end of the day. so we have, 900, 1200 kids. you can just imagine. so all the needs of students, teachers, just everybody. so we work really, really hard, and it's really serving the community, serving -- if you always focus on kids and needs of kids and it doesn't matter what anybody else needs or
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thinks or wants, if it's good for the kids, then you have to make it happen. and that means that you're going to have a lot of obstacles, because a lot of the world runs around what's easy for the adults. and so it's not easy for the adults that are serving kids. not glamorous at all. [applause] >> hello, my name's amanda. that was actually a really good segway into what i wanted to ask or talk about. back in may, i think, the chicago teachers' union, there's about 30,000 teachers, workers, nurses, aides, voted to authorize a strike that's going to be happening in the next couple weeks all surrounding these issues of what you were talking about earlier, mr. brick, and, you know, how the schools don't even have resources. you know, teachers are pulling money out of their own pocket to go buy something to put on the shelf, and they're experiencing this times 500 in chicago with
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privatization over and over of things like charter schools. the chicago teachers' union is about to strike, and the only way they could get 98% of their people to vote to authorize this was by creating a very, very big community, um, you know, network and solidarity with the teachers, and i just wanted to ask if you have any ideas, um, in the community. i know someone asked about the at-large, but how did you and your school, you know, organize the teachers and the people in your school so that you were able, actually, to get the test scores up? and, obviously, that was a big community-build thing. building thing. >> teacher? >> i know you have some thoughts on this. >> can you repeat the question? it was how -- [laughter] i mean, it's really a broad question, but -- >> do you have any strategic -- because i know in the schools a lot of times we're seeing teachers pitted against each other and parents against teachers and things, and what is the way in which you guys were
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able to create this community that really enforced and influenced each other? >> right. um, a lot of that came from the outside community. um, stand up for reagan was, um, a community of people, and i do believe alan weekes led that. but it was parents, it was teachers, it was concerned people, it was probably some politicians also. graduates, alumni from reagan and i think that all of those people just banded together, and they said this is not the year we're closing. and it wasn't the year we closed, and i'm really, really, really glad. um, but also i think that was the year, and it talks about it in the book, that about 600 people flooded into the school. and that came from ut, churches, um, parents. ..
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>> i know that there are many people who have different roles to play, administrators, teachers, parents and all. i am wondering if you could speak to what part of the story involves the students in terms of creating a culture in which they give each other permission to do well.
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because i know that when i saw was that that was extremely important in terms of the students themselves taking responsibility for their learning. >> that was the major peace. we have to be very frank and founded. many adults don't give kids the credit due. all they have to do is to tell the kids that you love your school, you want your school, and jupiter get up and work just like the rest of us. if you don't do it, the opportunity will go away. the saddest moment was the day that we had the plan. in the final year and final months, we have to turn in a plan. with the researchers will depend on your desk, where is it going to go? i was listening to other people
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who i think had a misperception of who our kids were. any time -- you know, i am the principal. if you send me 50 kids from another school, i'm going to say, who are those kids? i didn't want my kids and i didn't our teachers to be put in situations where other people were looking at them like oh, they are coming from a loser school. and so that is what we want to be frank about what the kids. this is your home. it would be like going into foster care or having to leave your family the teachers, too, would be looked at like oh, vacate from that school. you are either in or out.
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we have the most intricate web of interventions -- it is very complex. it is a whole book about interventions. if the kids buy into it and there is a pride in the school and a pride in the senior class, they were going to graduate from reagan high school and this year we graduated and we celebrated the fact that there had been great freshman that started and those are our kind of kids. [applause] >> hello, this question, i think, is for the coach. it is about extracurricular
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activities. in hard economic times, it can be a challenge for students and their families. a lot of them are working part-time jobs or have other afterschool obligations, maybe taking care of siblings because the parents are working. how important do you think it was to keep students involved. when you talk about the heartbeat of the schools, test scores, the culture of togetherness, how we are these extracurricular things and the basketball team, in building a heartbeat and the challenges for keeping us together? >> well, i think in any good high school, the academics or whatever, in terms of the spirit of the school, not only the sports, but the band, the dancers come in a academic clubs, goes those are the things that the kids get to kind of let their head out, so to speak. on that note, when you talk about the extracurricular activities and how important they are, there are two
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gentlemen over there. if you guys could raise your hand for a second -- those guys actually participate with the basketball team. [applause] i remember reading a part in the book, and i haven't read a lot of a parts of this book, but i remember it like it was yesterday. we were trapped in chair talking about telesystems. when you take on a leadership role, you have to have a vision, even when someone else does not see it. one of the things i wanted to do was to look like the other teams with the columbia blue and so forth. i did 45 hours of everybody's heads went down.
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[laughter] when your leader does that, but she believes in it, it makes it easier for you to come out of pocket, get support, i remember it like it was yesterday. we were getting ready to play a statement team and right for the game we heard who is scoring? and there are 12 or 13 kids in kansas and others, they believed in what we were doing. going back to your original question, those other activities surrounding the schools and the classes are important because those are the spirit that goes with the heartbeat of the school. those young man, we just came together and had a perfect situation. kansas and everybody else got
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the honors. [applause] >> thank you for being here. my thing is basically commending you and complementing you for your dedication to the school into a kids. it made a big difference. it had a tremendous impact on the community. again, i just commend everyone on a job well done. [applause] >> that is stanley davis. you'll meet him in the butt, too. [applause]
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>> we have time for some more questions after this, a few more questions here i does have a comment that i heard someone mention election year. having run for office, i encourage all of you to go to candidate forums, ask very specific yester know questions, then by the microphone and if they read a lot of the answer, don't let them put the shoe away. demand an answer. if money flew out of the bus, every school would look like princeton. but it doesn't. it comes out of your pocket and you consistently vote for people who do not support education. everyone is an education candidate until they get in and then you want them to cut your taxes. it does not work that way.
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it is your fault. [applause] >> i just want to thank you so much for this book. i am a graduate student and i study education. i have been following this story since i started in 2008. i have seen this happen in the contribution is so encouraging. it is really fortunate, the story of rescue and the happy ending, which we are really happy about. my question is what would've been the consequence is felt by the community, the teachers, staff, and students? >> i happened to have been at the high school.
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the legacy of ronald reagan, i can look out here right now and probably, so many people here tonight have graduated from reagan or will see this show or stay in constant contact. in the spring, we brought back alumni from each decade. we have people that love reagan. for our kids, it would've meant leaving their neighborhood school, a school where that is their home. that is where their voices are heard and where i listen to them and we do what needs to be done. kids have a voice in our school. for our teachers, it would have meant having to find another job, go somewhere else, start again, the new focus, but for our school district and state, the loss of those schools in
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communities that have built and aligned their history, that is a great thing across the nation. we can bring in other types of schools. but some of the most successful people that we have in the world and the nation have graduated from public school has been products of public schools. it would have been a lot for everybody, whether they do or not. we need to change with time but not get rid of our public schools. i was very glad to see that the efforts of our community has a happy ending. >> every year is a new year. spending more time this summer on how we will help our kids.
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i think it is no one's intention to bring together like that, it's just like a perfect storm. what it all comes together to perform something that, you know, that is huge, we spend a lot of our time focused on that instead of what we should. it should be directly kid related. [applause] >> for more information, visit saving the school.com.
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>> you are watching the tv on c-span2. here is our primetime lineup for tonight. beginning at 7:00 p.m. eastern, a program at last weekend's national book festival, leaving linda greenhouse gives an introduction to the supreme court. at 7:45 p.m., the book the oath by jeffrey toobin. at 9:00 p.m. eastern, our most recent afterwords interview, saucer eisenberg talks about how to have a successful campaign. secret science of winning campaigns. at 10:00 p.m., howard bronson recall recalls his experiences as a sniper on seal team six. that'll happen tonight on booktv.com. >> host: we are joined by helen benedict, who is the author of
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"the lonely soldier. professor, you start your book out with a quote by martha joe horn. what happens to people one by one. what does that mean? >> i was stuck by that quote because it inspired me through turn one. i thought it was a very apt. >> host: company women served in the iraq war? >> guest: over 200,000 served in iraq and afghanistan. americans. >> host: is that unusual? >> guest: yes, the iraq war in
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particular. more women had served in the iraq war by around 2005, two years into the war already, then all the american wars put together, including afghanistan. one in every 10 troops in iraq was a woman. >> host: they serve in different capacities and in the past? >> guest: yes, because it was a guerrilla war, drawing a line in the sand, having an errol where they are our soldiers from enemy side, that is a battle that takes place in roads and hospitals and trucks and toilet paper, it they are used for attacks. it because there is no front line, even if you are an engineer or a cook, many women
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were being used as gunners and doing the same jobs because of the shortage of troops. >> host: but women are not supposed to serve in combat, right? >> guest: yes, that's right. on the ground, in reality, when you have combat in iraq afghanistan for two years. >> host: was very typical experience for american soldiers? >> it's hard to say typical because it really depends on the year that they were serving and where they were serving. and also who they were serving life. the most common story i heard
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they don't necessarily get deployed together. many women served with a very small number of other women, vastly outnumbered by men. i have talked to women who are the only ones among 60 men. the isolation of serving like that can lead to a lesser problem. from harassment and loneliness to sexual assault and race. i did hear a great deal more of those stories than i expected. >> host: that seems to be a common theme in "the lonely soldier. who is this woman on the cover? >> she is a career sergeant. she was a drill sergeant as well. so she had also served in honduras and really had a long career behind her.
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i was very enthusiastic about her. and so she got sent to iraq. partly because of the racism she experienced and partly because of the discrimination that she experienced also because of the nature of the war itself, which he turned against. i'm not saying that it's typical for a soldier, but that is the one thing that i heard from soldiers, more than what i expected about the war. based on what they were seeing on the ground, and like we hear here at home. >> host: how did you find the five women that he focused on in the book? >> guest: there were over 40 minutes -- excuse me come over
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40 women. they wanted to be included a lot of soldiers felt they were being not taken seriously. i picked five in the hopes of finding representation of socio- or economical range and also geographical range, age, experience, attitudes.
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>> host: so they continue to support the war? >> guest: some show that some 99% of women are harassed. the outliers are the ones who are have it the worst. sexual assault is somewhere between one and five and one in three. people are not aware of the way we are prosecuting our own soldiers.
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>> host: you are a professor of journalism. is this a typical book for a professor like you? [laughter] >> a lot of us do investigative reporting. we also have the academics among us. but we are walking journalists, that has always been the profile of the school. >> host: have policies changed in afghanistan and iraq? >> guest: yes, they have. i have testified twice or congress myself. change to rules and policies and more prevention. sexual assault, made available for women and men. sexual assault is a huge problem for men as well in the military. and there has been reforms. but we still have a long way to
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go. the rates did not seem to be distressing. the prosecution rates were related to the justice system, they were scandalously low and they have a long way to go. congress is pressing that we do something about this for many years now. and they have been extremely slow to respond in a really productive way. there has been a lot of denial going on. >> host: should women be allowed to serve in combat? >> guest: yes. we are human beings. we have a right to have whatever jobs that we want. not that we could always achieve that job. not all women want to be in combat, but not all women want to be in combat either. we shouldn't deny women the chance for a job just because of their gender. when "the new york times" wrote about this this morning in an editorial, on behalf of two
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women, they were claiming it unconstitutional to bar women from combat. >> host: helen benedict, you also wrote a book called "sand queen." >> guest: that is correct. it is the story of a woman in a rock, and it goes back and forth between her story is a woman soldier in the story of an iraqi civilian woman. they began to interact and the soldiers have experienced. you get to see the war from both the iraqi and the american point of view, but through the eyes of women, which is a very unique
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way to tell stories of war. >> host: when you look back at the iraq war and do you think it has been fair and comprehensive? >> it depends which nation of the media you're asking about. >> host: the united states? >> host: i think we have done a very good job. we were too blinded by the actions to 9/11 and we did not face questions that help us make the decision to go into iraq. and we have persisted in the iraqi side. in fact, to find out what was really going on in iraq and the war, i had to petition french journalists. people spoke out the newbie
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area. we had a few, but not enough. and then we have a certain amount of censorship and not being allowed to see the bodies of soldiers coming home or the coffins, rather, whether it's the dead on either side. there have been individual reporters who have done an incredible job of covering the award. and i would like to pay tribute. may they rest in peace, those who have lost their lives in the region. >> host: helen benedict have you written about were previously? or was it just this war to grab
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you? >> i have never written about combat on the ground the way that i have in the past. this is a new subject for me, which is why it took me a few years to do. it took me many interviews to really find out what it's like. what is it like to be a woman soldier in combat? and why do you do a? that is really my original question. then i found out a whole lot more. >> host: helen benedict is the author of this book "the lonely soldier : the private war of women serving in iraq." she is also the author of this novel, "sand queen." helen benedict has joined us here at columbia university. >> december 11, 2001 is a day that changed my life forever.
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this will allow an outline of the entire account. it's pretty intense. a lot of things did get pretty intense. put yourself in that room and get a sense of what it was like to be at the top of the food chain. the national command authority is a nation of 300 million americans was attacked by al qaeda terrorists. >> leader today at 730 eastern pm arnold schwarzenegger recounts his life and time as a governor
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in total recall, my life and true story. and a political activist and scholar gives his story. former candidate rick santorum details the personal story of their fight for freedom and in american patriot, answering the call of freedom. and a man who saved the union, historian hwm's recounts a life and career of ulysses after graham. in the liberal war of transparency, attorney christopher horner argues that the obama administration keeping too much information from the public. john jenkins, legal journalist

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CSPAN September 30, 2012 10:00am-11:00am EDT

Michael Brick Education. (2012) 'Saving the School The True Story of a Principal, a Teacher, a Coach, a Bunch of Kids, and Year in the Crosshairs of Education Reform.'

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